Harper rues missed opportunity in first Test but pleased with series outcomeFriday, April 09, 2021
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Chairman of selectors Roger Harper believes the recent drawn series against Sri Lanka provided reason for continued optimism, but rued the side's inability to nick a victory in the opening Test.
Both matches proved to be attritional affairs on flat tracks at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in Antigua, with neither side possessing the extra firepower to claim 20 wickets.
West Indies looked to be in with a chance of forcing an outright result in the first Test when they dismissed Sri Lanka cheaply for 169 in their first innings and then carved out a lead of 102 runs ahead of the second innings.
But debutant Pathum Nissanka struck a century to power the visitors to 476 in their second innings, forcing West Indies to save the game after they were set an improbable victory target of 375.
“I think we really lost an opportunity in the first innings of the first Test. Having dismissed Sri Lanka for a relatively low total, we really needed to build a big lead and apply the pressure to Sri Lanka,” Harper pointed out.
“Instead, we got a lead of a little over 100 and the pitch got very flat, and we got ourselves batting to save the game, rather than applying pressure to the Sri Lankans.
“I thought we lost an opportunity there not being able to build a big first innings lead in that first Test match, having bowled them out.”
West Indies resumed the final day on 34 for one with uncertainty over their ability to survive three sessions but Nkrumah Bonner struck his maiden Test hundred to erase any doubt.
Harper said the ease with which the home side batted out the final day was an indication of their recent development.
“The pitch had a bit of moisture in that first innings and we bowled and managed to use that to our advantage, but we did not bat and take advantage of it, and we let that opportunity slip away,” Harper noted.
“The fact that we were able to bat out the fourth innings for a draw was significant. I cannot tell the last time a West Indies test team was able to do that, to bat out the time for a draw, so that's significant.”
The result meant West Indies went undefeated in the multi-format series after winning the Twenty20 series 2-1 and sweeping the three-match One-Day International series.
And following on from the Test series win in Bangladesh recently, Harper said the Sri Lanka series represented another step forward.
“I think overall, it was a very pleasing effort all-round,” Harper told Starcom Radio's Mason and Guest.
“We had a whole series where we played T20Is, ODIs and Tests, and to come away with a series victory in the T20Is, a complete 3-0 victory in the ODIs – and then as much as we would have liked to have won the two Tests or the Test series – to come away with two draws is a positive for us.
“I think we had a very good home series, and it is a performance we can continue to build on.”
He added: “I don't think there were any disappointments. I think there were areas that we could improve on… and can get better at. I would say overall when you look at the performances of the teams, it was a pretty good Test series.”
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login